Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The situation with holding the baby

Max walked into my bedroom yesterday morning because he heard the baby fussing. Dave was away on business, the baby had been really irritable because of his stomach issues for a good part of the night, and I was exhausted.

"Hi, Fireman," I said, wearily, as Ben fidgeted on my shoulder.

"How are you?" Max asked.

"I'm kind of tired," I said.

I asked if he'd go see if Sabrina was up, because she likes to hold the baby in the morning as I attempt to make like an awake human being.

He came back and said no. Then he grabbed the burp cloth off the bed and tried to sling it over one shoulder, except it didn't land right so it hung off him. He looked at me, expectantly.

He wanted to hold Ben.

Part of me adored his instinct to help—Max is always like that. He really and truly cares about making sure Dave, Sabrina and I are all right, exactly why he regularly asks if we're OK. Lately, he wants to know whether I had a good day. When he came home from school last week and I told him that Ben had spit up a lot, he noted that Ben had a bad day.

Part of me loved his confidence in his abilities.

Part of me felt sad. Sometimes, while Max is sitting, he'll hold Ben on his lap but his arms aren't coordinated, limber or stable enough to be able to hold Ben against his chest in a standing position. It's too precarious for Dave or I to help Max do it.

We try our best to further Max's physical abilities. Either we're trying to break new ground (swimming), finesse stuff he's good at (climbing stairs) or assist him. Rarely are we ever in a situation where we have to tell Max that he just isn't able to do something. But I had to.

So I said, straight up, "Max, you can't hold Ben yet standing up, but you can hold him while you're sitting."

I said "yet" because perhaps Max will someday hold his baby brother while standing, even if Ben's no longer a baby by that point.

And Max went, "Awww" but he got it.

Max enjoys helping with Ben in other ways; he brings dirty diapers to the trash, dabs the spit-up off his face and stands over him and chants "It's OK! It's OK! It's OK!" when Ben is wailing. Still, I felt badly that that Max was missing out on being able to walk around with Ben, something Sabrina loves to do. It was one of those why-can't-Max-enjoy-the-same-things-we-do pangs that strikes occasionally. Mostly, I see his abilities, except for those times when he gets frustrated by not being able to do something...or I feel that way for him.

A few minutes later Sabrina meandered in. She and Max stood over the baby and made silly sounds at him, as adoring siblings do. Ben beamed at them. And just like that, the morning got happier for us all.


  1. What about a sling? Could Max wear a sling and hold Ben?

    1. Michelle, that is an excellent idea. I'm not a baby wearer, that never even occurred to me. I think Max would have the strength for that, or a structured carrier (a Facebook friend found a Tula one with fire trucks)! Whether Ben likes it, well, that's a whole other story! I am going to borrow one and see how it goes. THANK YOU.

    2. Did you try the sling?

      If so, how did Max and Ben get on with it?

  2. There are all things we cannot do or have great difficulty doing. For example, I can't flutter tongue and trilling with my left ring finger is awkward and difficult because it sometimes bends backwards in the middle of the trill.

  3. For what it's worth, I have never held a baby standing up and I don't plan on ever doing it.

    The anxiety of what could happen makes always makes me never want to. It's probably the one thing I've purposely "limited myself" from without trying it too much in regards to CP.

    Part of getting older for me was being able to admit that some things just aren't gonna happen. Some are easy, like how I'll never be an Olympic runner. But things like holding a baby count too.

    (Max will totally be able to someday though!)

    1. I'm sort of in the same position. I walk with crutches, since I have CP, but also realize there are idiots out there who cause trouble for everyone. Last summer I had a cop at my door asking me if I ever picked any child up, took pictures of them, or purposely followed them. My neighbor was intent that I was "out to purposely harm young boys" as the police report had put it. I told the cop I am a retired teacher and although he felt I was in the clear, there are idiots who feel disabled people never should be in contact with youth for any reason. State law also restricts people with disabilities from being parents as well (I am in WA state) I often consider how it looks to other people, and it often appears negative, but that is life.

      I know I can do it, I've held kids before, but in public, or outside, it might be wise to rethink it.

      Slings work fine, depending on balance, but for me, I'd prefer to be in a wheelchair while doing it.

  4. Hi, I'm Jack (I'm using my friends account)

    We all have things that we can't do, or do yet. For instance I can't reach the door frame at school if I try to touch it or get to where some of the plates are kept in my kitchen. But I have my ways of getting things (namely a really cool step stool) and I can beat anyone at hide and go seek. :)

  5. Hugs! Those moments must hurt. I love the idea of the baby carrier-you and Sabrina might like it too :)


  6. http://www.babybjorn.com/baby-carriers/baby-carrier-one-air/

  7. I have never been able to carry a baby standing up.


Thanks for sharing!